Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Daily Dose of Depression -- Who Notices?

“Who notices?” 

This is the season when minimum wage working and out of work families start to look at their kids and then look at the calendar and then feel an ache in the stomach and a sour taste in their mouths.  The school year is coming on fast.  There will be a list of school classroom items to buy. There will be clothes and shoes the kids will expect but not get.  There will be agonizing decisions about book rentals and school lunches.

It all puts a gray damper on the excitement of the coming school year. 

“Who notices?”

You know the economy is in bad shape when customers can't afford to shop at dollar stores anymore.
By Annie LowreyPosted Wednesday, Slate  Aug. 3, 2011, at 5:15 PM ET

Even dollar stores are struggling. . . . Customers flock to the chains, which sell thousands of products for a buck or $2 or $10, when times get tough. When the economy improves, they shop at nicer outlets, like Target. But there are some worrisome signs that the prolonged economic malaise has changed even this retail paradigm. Middle-class households remain reluctant to spend. And cash-strapped consumers are finding even dollar stores a bit too expensive.

Goods Fly Off Shelves – Even Marked Up, Luxury

Nordstrom has a waiting list for a Chanel sequined tweed coat with a $9,010 price. Neiman Marcus has sold out in almost every size of Christian Louboutin “Bianca” platform pumps, at $775 a pair. Mercedes-Benz said it sold more cars last month in the United States than it had in any July in five years. . . .

. . .  Luxury goods stores, which fared much worse than other retailers in the recession, are more than recovering — they are zooming. Many high-end businesses are even able to mark up, rather than discount, items to attract customers who equate quality with price.

“If a designer shoe goes up from $800 to $860, who notices?” said Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at the consulting firm Kurt Salmon, and the former chairman and chief executive of Saks.


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